Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions

  • @wheelrich I spent the first week or so really thinking about my stance, figuring one way had to be "right." Then one day I just stopped paying attention. Now I realize my stance changes all the time. Sometimes my feet are totally perpendicular. Sometimes my backfoot is perpendicular and my front foot points at a 45 degree. Sometimes both my feet point forward (usually when I'm carving kinda fast). I do it without thinking about it... it will come with time.

    If you're starting, I would just suggest mounting the board with both feet perpendicular and tucked in close to the wheel. If you have a fender, keep your feet touching or almost touching the fender. If you don't have a fender... well... get a fender because it honestly should be standard. And then after that don't think about stance too much and be loose... It's not like a golf swing where everything needs to be "just so."

    Once you're ready for pavement find a large open parking lot and do big figure 8's until you're as comfortable turning in forward as turning out back (and vice versa).

  • @reddog good advice. I do keep my feet close to the wheel, with front sometimes angled a little forward. I have a flight fender on order. still waiting on it.

    I just cleaned off my 20X20 foot backyard carport so now I have the entire pad to practice on. this means I can do complete circles, and even figure eights. this should push my progress ahead significantly. I am just waiting for the SoCal heat to start going below 100 degrees. you are right about not thinking, as well. last night once I turned my body and let my arms swing more freely I almost stopped thinking about balance, and it started to feel more natural. I am hoping to build on that tonight.

  • WK2- Day 4

    -evening drills- 60 minutes, with one walk around break to unnumb my toes.

    -feel like I am on a plateau. no real progress today. my balance is still challenged, except when I just hover in place. and carving control still clunky. but I am extending time length and still building ankles, etc.

    Day4- drill 2

    -did another 40 minutes. worked on balance. got some decent floats in this time. legs are a bit stiff from all the workouts. the soreness has gone away. I guess I am building a few new muscles I didn't use before. I'll get there. I am determined.

  • no drills yesterday. too many chores and activities to catch up on. I did, however, spend about 10 minutes showing a friend how to ride it in my backyard. hardly a warm up tho.

  • WK2- Day 5

    -Relearn day!

    1- This morning I did about a 20 minute warmup session. A few minutes riding around my Jeep on the lumpy grass (discovered that the lumps can trigger a nose dive in delirium even tho barely moving), then the rest on cement in delirium. Had to run some errands, so cut it short.

    2- when I returned....my flight fenders had arrived! So I installed them. Started doing drills on cement again, but wow! Felt like I was starting all over again! Wobbles back, barely able to control the board. What changed??? THIS: With the FFs in place, I lost 2 inches of standing room next to the wheel on either side...almost 4 inches total. I had to learn balance and control all over again, because I stand with my front heel next to the wheel cutout, and my rear heel about 1/2" from it. This really changed my balance and carve points. I know some like the wider stance, but I had tried it and decided against it. Well, this made me rethink my position (pun intended). I was about to rip the ff's off, but made myself work with them. By the end of a 40 minutes session I was begining to adapt. I even extended my float area away from my safety bars a few times.

    The jury is still out...as to whether I will keep them, but I am going to see how it goes.

    The fenders seem pretty solid on the board, but that is because the 8 screw bolts that come with them, are spaced out quite a bit, encroaching onto the flat board area. Now I understand why ff's won't fit the Onetail+. Consider this, if you are thinking of purchasing them.

    3- 40 more minutes tonight- Starting to get used to the wider stance I have to take with the flight fenders. Tried several foot positions and ended up close to the fenders, with a very slight angled foot, front and back, and rear foot about 1/2" further back.

    I started to get more movement and more real float time with the wider stance. So the unintended consequence of getting FFs is that it forced me to move further away from the wheel. I am finding that I have better control for turns and carves now, in my rear foot. I actually floated freely (i.e. not grabbing anything for balance) more tonight than I have up to this point. Which is great, because I was starting to get stuck in a rut. Now I am motivated to push on.

    Still haven't come up with an open place to do more. My neighborhood doesn't even have sidewalks, and I am not doing the streets. But, I still can learn more in my backyard. My control and balance improved a lot tonight!

    float more

    p.s. just preordered Cobra Pads. who knows what that will bring!

  • WK2- DAY 6

    -60 minutes straight on the OW doing evening drills. Still getting used to my wider stance. Some minimal progress. Toes only killing me during the last 10 minutes!

  • @wheelrich I'm not sure what the flight fins are doing for you... unless you need them to hold a fender on... those are for really advanced tricks and riding, pushing the board to new limits. Sounds like they are just causing you trouble right now... you need to focus on being able to carve and float on pavement.

  • @reddog NOT flight fins....flight fenders. big difference! I ordered them because I wanted to keep debris from coming thru, but didn't want a full fender. Had I realized they take up 4 bolts, where regular fenders only use 2, I might have passed on them. OWarmor just came out with a new open fender design that DOES only use 2 bolts, for $59. You are right...I have no need for flight fins at this stage.

    And yes, I agree with you about my focus. Today I found a perfect location near a school across the street from a friend of mine. School is out for the summer there, and it has a wide sidewalk running along a chain link fence for at least an 1/8 of a mile straight! I plan to go over in the morning and try it out. It also borders a track and a soccer field, baseball diamond and grassy area, that maybe later I can move up to.

    Thanks again, for your feedback!

    p.s. just preordered the new split fenders from OWarmor (July 4 sale). They come out in July. They should let me regain my standing area, but I will continue to work with the flight fenders in the meantime. I think making me widen my stance is a good thing. I feel like I am steering from the rear easier than I was.

  • WK2- Day 7
    -60 minute drill
    -adjustments: I took off the front flight fender. That let me put my front heel closer to the wheel and felt much more balanced again. For now, I am leaving the rear flight fender in place. I like having my rear foot back more, and it keeps me from inching forward.

  • WK3- Day 1

    So early this morning on my way to have breakfast with a friend, we stopped at the school grounds I mentioned before, across the corner from his house. Per my OW app the straight sidewalk on the side I rode on...runs 1/6 mile each way, or 1/3 mile round trip. So I did a few laps on it before breakfast. My first run outside my backyard!

    Impressions: going forward was very easy and smooth. I can see how so many new OW riders jump on their boards the first day and never look back. However, I am glad to have spent time learning to stop, mount and dismount. So, other than just practice, so I get more relaxed, I see no problem riding regular. I did make a conscious effort to slow down...going faster seems too easy. I kept it at about 8.5 max, 6.5 mph average.

    return: going forward I kept the fence to the right side, but never really had to use it for balance, as I kept moving smoothly along. However, I rode switch back to the start point, so I could continue facing the fence in case I needed balance help. I found riding switch was harder to steer properly, and I kept veering toward the street, so I would stop (on my board) and carefully realign my direction. Now, I have been riding switch on all my drills at home, so it wasn't terrible, just not as confident as riding regular.

    Overall a good, but short, practice session. I want to go back there again, when I have more time.

  • FWIW, I have been reading your progress the whole time as I wait for my XR. Hopefully it'll give me a better idea of what to do when I begin my own progression in a week or so.

  • WK3- Day 2
    I try to spend time each day on the OW so it can become more natural and automatic for me. Tonight I almost skipped it, it was a long day. But, decided to do at least 30 minutes. Ended up spending about 40. And I am glad I did, because I had another...

    mini-breakthru - after yesterday's longer distance ride, I wanted to add something to my carport routine. So, first I mounted the board in the middle of the floor, with nothing to grab for balance. Then, I wanted to again go across the carport span, instead of along the sides. I have done this before, but, yesterday showed me if I just get into it, it is not a big deal. However, when I was lined myself up to go across, I got a terrible case of the wobbles, like in the beginning! I thought it was just nerves, but I couldn't get it to go away. Then....I readjusted my stance and...voila'...no wobbles!

    @RedDog mentioned a few days ago, that he adjusts his feet all the time. I have been wheeling both ways and turning my body in the direction I am going. Over time I kinda adopted a double angle stance...each foot angled toward the end it is closest to. But tonight as I faced more forward, like I did yesterday, I finally let my back foot go perpendicular to the side, and then even angled it forward very slightly. So I was all in to go forward. This took out the wobbles completely for me, and I practiced doing ovals on my carport. That is, I would carve from one side to the other, then turn the board back, and carve back again. This seemed very natural. In the approximately 20X20' pad, I don't quite have enough room to make a complete circle...at least not at my current skill level. But eventually I should be able to accomplish that.

    OK, as I get more comfortable with the board, I am allowing myself to move my feet now. This is major progress for me. I usually planted them and didn't change unless I stopped the board and remounted. So for anybody still bothering to read this running log, here is a summary of progression

    WK1- getting acquainted with my board and trying all kinds of stuff. also starting to build up my feet and ankles.
    WK2- developing some consistent practice drills, learning to mount and dismount safely, building up my unused muscles and stretching my drills to an hour at a time.
    WK3- using what I have learned and beginning to become more mobile and independent on the board.

    I know this seems painfully slow to some of you daredevils. But I am the opposite of a natural athlete. If I can do this...anyone can.

    Also, I hope that some of you who do read this will take advantage of my mistakes and skip over some of them. But, be assured, I am enjoying this challenge!

  • @wheelrich Great update!

    You'll get to the point where you can turn in that carport no problem. It will take awhile.

    Once you can turn in as easy as you turn out, and vice versa, you're ready for the street. Figure 8 loops way to go.

    Your still in USAF? I've got 18 years in the Navy...

  • @reddog Thanks. Now I am looking forward to doing those figure 8s.

    I did one active tour in the AF, then returned later for active reserves, most of it in avionics. retired with 26+ years. What's your speciality?

  • Training Day 3-3
    (note: missed some days, due to other scheduled events. here on out I will not be posting every single warm up day, only new observations or progress.)

    More progress. going to be super hot today, so I went out for a quick drill to keep my OW muscles in shape. I am now concentrating on being more independent on the board, while improving balance at the same time. so, as usual, I mounted the board in the middle of my carport entrance. after stabilizing my balance I decided to just wheel around freely and slowly as much as I could, focusing on board to feet feel and not just grabbing the nearest side post. I made it around halfway, so I was 180 from where I started. then I kept going. at first I started to lose balance inward, but just let it take me faster. pretty soon I was carving not only circles in my 20X20 carport, but fairly tight circles!

    so, other balance challenged newbies...take heart and keep at it.

    I did about 30 minutes of various drills, but I did several complete circles, almost to the point where I was getting dizzy from circling. came out of them successfully, did side drills, then one more good circle to finish. temp was hitting close to 100 and already dehydrating a bit, so I called it a day for now. but definite, significant progress for me!

    evening drills - got in another 30-40 mins just before dark. still able to do tight circles toe-side, but carving heel side is difficult. so not ready for figure 8's yet. maybe when my Cobra pad ships.

  • Training Day 3-4

    Finally some real riding. Still riding in Mission. Went back to the school I rode at last Saturday, with the chain link fence running 1/6 mile straight. This time I rode to the end, then entered an asphalt parking lot, where I did big circles until I could position back onto the sidewalk, and return to my start point. Repeated this process 6 times, always going forward, not using the fence for balance at all, once I started off, and not even facing the fence on the return legs.

    I never fell off, but did have a couple awkward slides off the board, both while I was stopping or stopped. Top speed was 7.6 mph, and I intentionally held it back, concentrating on control. It would have been easier to go faster. I always felt in control going straight, and no longer felt a rush to find a landing place. I controlled and varied the speed pretty much at will.

    Total distance was 2.2 miles. Not huge, but longer than any other continuous practice runs I have done. My back leg was getting tired and the heat was rising (116 right now), so I called it a successful morning.

    The straight rides felt solid. The turns were slightly uphill and I sometimes slowed down more than I intended. Not used to non level ground yet. Carving toe side was ok, but carving heel side was awkward. Kept feeling like I was going to fall backwards. I think I will get it in time, as I come to trust myself and the board more.

    Overall, my best performance yet. I would like to find a big open flat area where I can start trying large figure 8's now. Our extreme heat spell is supposed to break tonight. Then I shouldn't be limited to only early morning, and late evening. After more practice, my next frontier will be some hard dirt or firm grass riding.

  • @wheelrich Nice work! 2.2 miles going slow is a fairly long ride.
    It's kind of exhilarating to lean back into a heelside turn and get that 'I should be falling' feeling...

  • @reddog lol. yeah I did get that just slightly a couple times, and I know that is where I should be headed.

  • First fall! - I am not calling this a training day. I only went out in the evening, after temp dropped below 100, to keep my muscles limbered up, since I haven't been able to ride for the past 2 days.

    But I thot I would try my lumpy backyard grass again. After a couple wobbly jumps from the board I abandoned that idea and just did routine carport drills back and forth and a few circles. But then...I decided to end my time with a run out on the grass from the carport cement, just to see how far I could get before I had to bail. But...didn't get a chance to bail. The board tilted away from me about 3 feet in and I went back. I discovered why the good Lord gave us butts! My left cheek will probably be a little sore tomorrow, but no serious injuries. Even all my safety gear was unscathed.

    Oh well, back to the cement...and pavement when I can.

  • Training Day 3-5

    -Beautiful day, mid 70's early morning (90's now). 2.4 miles of straight sidewalk riding, with turns in a parking lot at one end (just like last week). 8.5 mph top speed (holding back speed on purpose to focus on board control).

    It has been a week since my last similar training. I did add an additional loop this time, but as I am only doing warm up training during the week, my progress is slow. In fact, I had some trouble today making the circle turns on pavement at the end of my straight sidewalk runs (I did them much better last week). There is a slight uphill when I switch to pavement from the sidewalk, and I cannot seem to get much, if any, acceleration once I transfer to the pavement incline, almost coming to a full stop. I am very comfortable riding in a straight line now. Balance for that is almost effortless. But now that I am, I realize my control over acceleration for turns, except when I am on level surface, sucks! I am trying to NOT lean over the front end of the board, but just push my leg in that direction. Somehow I am not getting it. I know I could come in faster and do it easier, but then I only using momentum, not control, to accelerate.

    Part of this, also, is getting used to riding for this long, continuously. I did the 2.4 miles without ever leaving the board, and mostly around 5 mph or less. By the end, my back toes were getting numb, or I could have gone longer. I probably spent around half an hour on the board.

    My schedule of summer plans and projects is making it difficult for me to do a lot of runs, but I am going to try to get over there maybe one other day per week for awhile.

    Conclusion: As I have said a few times now, I know this is slow progress, but when I first started, I was beginning to have doubts that I could master balancing this thing at all. Now I head out easily in a straight line, with no posts or poles to grab onto, and very comfortably. No more wobbles....finally! So i am definitely making progress. Also, one thing I never mentioned before...in September I will be 73. Now, I am sure most of you don't want a half-trained 73 yo OWing on your runs. So, partly on your behalf, I am taking my time and trying to learn this well before I inflict myself on the public. My current goal is to be floating on or near the beach on my next birthday...safely.

    Float on brothers and sisters!

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